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Should You Be Taking Acetominophen While Pregnant?

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UCLA OBGYN Expert Offers Perspective

A new British study published in JAMA Peds found children may be more likely to have behavior problems if their mother took acetaminophen during pregnancy. The study did not suggest pregnant women should avoid taking acetaminophen, however.

Dr. Aisling Murphy, an assistant clinical professor in maternal fetal medicine with UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology, who is not affiliated with study, commented on the study:

“Although a few retrospective studies have suggested a possible association between prenatal acetaminophen exposure and adverse neurodevelopment disorders in children, there is at this point no conclusive evidence of a causal link. Indeed, the exact way in which acetaminophen might exert this effect is unknown.

Generally, our advice would be to avoid any unnecessary exposure to medications, including acetaminophen during pregnancy. If treatment with acetaminophen is needed for pain control, then taking the minimum effective dose and avoiding multiple prolonged exposures is the prudent thing to do.

Non-pharmacologic measures can also be safe and effective for pain management. In the case of back pain for example, which is a very common pregnancy complaint, examples might include wearing appropriate footwear, sitting in a chair with adequate back support, using hot or cold packs or massage to help ease the pain.

If pain is more severe then talking to your doctor is the next best step.”

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